This week's Response is guest-written by SJN's impact manager Alec Saelens. Enjoy! 

In the almost four years I lived in NYC, I’d never taken the Metro North train out of Grand Central. I made up for this recently — after leaving the city. On a sunny October morning, the fall colors on the west bank of the Hudson formed a gorgeous tapestry zooming past the window above the peaceful current. A two-mast boat, sails down, floated alone upstream.

Was that the Apollonia in a story I’d read about sail freight shipping and its potential contribution to a zero-carbon economy? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that the critical assessment of this mode of transportation laid out in The Little Schooner That Might, a solutions story written by Lissa Harris for local publication The River, helped Chris Rahm, a filmmaker, reframe the angle of the documentary Windshipped he’d worked on for years.

Other articles published in the series about local business and climate solutions had an impact too, like converting avid readers to financial supporters. For Jen Metzger, a mum and local community advocate turned state senator, media-driven reporting on responses to climate-related problems is vital to inform and empower people in local and rural areas.

While measuring the impact of solutions journalism can be difficult on a story level, in the aggregate they can affect change from the personal to the systemic. You can read Lissa’s story and two others looking at (re)building sustainable local economies below.

— Alec Saelens
SJN impact manager
If you're a report and your solutions reporting generated impact, please let us know via SJN’s Impact Tracker.

“Some would say they cannot eat food from cow dung. But they have since embraced the concept.”

Shifting Gender Roles — and Reducing Deforestation - Fortune Moyo, Global Press Journal

In the Zimbabwean village of Ntabayengwe, men used to stay away from the kitchen, but biogas technology has gotten some involved in cooking. Chopping down trees and sourcing firewood, a task carried out by women, has decreased massively. And there are health benefits too. 

Restoring Hawaiian fishponds revitalizes food systems and cultures - Ray Levy Uyeda, Prism

Reliance on food imports connected to a legacy of colonialism can create food insecurity. In the face of tourism, pollution and climate change, Hawaiians are returning to indigenous land management practices, leading to a new generation preserving ancestral knowledge. 


The Little Schooner That Might - Lissa Harris, The River

A staggering figure will hit you a few paragraphs in: The dollar value for preventing 1,530 pounds of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. With descriptions of pre-industrial crafts operating in the 21st century, this surprisingly affecting story is about alternative trading networks and their contributions to putting a dent in climate change.

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